The newest viral video sweeping through the social media world is the “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” video on YouTube. While I completely understand the point that he’s trying to make, which is trying to distance Christianity from the ritualistic practices associated with religion. And I applaud him for standing on his Christian faith, but the truth is…he’s wrong. Christianity is a religion, plain and simple. Trying to call it anything else is just naïve. I hate to sound harsh about it, but there is nothing that I dislike more than ignorance. So, allow me to explain why Christianity IS a religion.
First off, we need to define what a religion is. According to Webster’s dictionary, it is defined as: 1) the service and worship of God or the supernatural, (2) commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance; 2) a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.
According to Dictionary.com it is: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creationof a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing amoral code governing the conduct of human affairs. 2) a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects.
Based on the definitions given by these two sources alone, it’s easy to see that Christianity is defined as a religion. This should be case closed. However, people aren’t content with that. They still want to say that “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion.” Well, ALL religions are relationships…that’s a core foundation of most religions. Christianity is about the relationship between Christians and God through Jesus. Judaism is about the relationship between God and his chosen people, the Jews. Islam is about the relationship between Allah and all the believers of the Koran who confess and convert. Buddhism is about the relationship between a person and themselves and the world around them. Zorastrianism is about the relationship between the one ultimate God and his followers. I could continue through every religion in the world but I won’t. My case and point being, you can’t say Christianity isn’t a religion because it’s a relationship.
The next reason I say that it’s wrong to say that, is because legally, it must be considered a religion. The first amendment guarantees the government won’t make any laws establishing a religion or denying the free worship of one. If Christianity isn’t considered a religion, they’re not protected under the 1st amendment. If it is simply a relationship, they’re not considered an organization, therefore wouldn’t qualify for any tax breaks. I’d say it’s pretty important for Christianity to fall under the category of religion.
The next reason that I reject the notion is because it virtually eliminates the communal aspects of Christianity and the church diminishes in importance or disappears altogether. I could go into a spill about why we NEED the church, but I won’t because I feel like that should be common sense to Christians.
I don’t mean to sound like a complete jerk about this issue, but I just want to point out the facts. You’re never going to win an argument over someone who is a non-believer, when you barely even know what you believe in, much less why. Again, I applaud this man’s video and enjoyed watching it. He made a lot of good points. However, what he failed to realize was that there is a difference between RELIGION and RELIGIOUS PRACTICES. If you’re praying just because you’re supposed to pray, that’s a practice. If you’re praying because you have a relationship with a benevolent God and he can hear your prayers, you’re exercising your religion. If you sing a hymn because it’s tradition, that’s a practice. If you sing it to praise your savior, that’s exercising your religion.
The point is this: Christianity is a religion and a relationship. It is a religion based on the relationship of God with us. The two are not mutually exclusive but are mutually dependent. The CHURCH is the bride of Christ, not one individual. If you reject the bride, how can you have a relationship with the Groom?